Real Names on Blizzard forums?

WoW.com just posted a link from Blizzard with a surprising piece of information.  Now that the RealID system is in place, the plan is that all posts on official Blizzard forums will show the real name of the poster.

I’ll be surious to see if they hold the line on this or back off.  I expect there to be a lot of backlash.

On one hand, people will be less likely to troll when their real name is attached to their obnoxious posts.

On the other hand, people who are concerned with internet privacy will most likely not post on the Blizzard forums at all.  If your name is attached to your posts, then people will see those posts by Googling your name.

Personally,  I like to keep my personal, professional, and gaming lives separate.  I have different email accounts for each aspect of my life, and I am careful to minimize overlap.  As a teacher, I’m not sure that I want my students to follow my doings in Azeroth.

Also, in the current information age we all know that businesses will Google the names of job applicants.  If you wouldn’t put your WoW accomplishments on your resume, then you probably don’t want a prospective employer to find out about that side of your life.

Facebook recently took a lot of flak when they made their information less private.  I am sure that Blizzard will face the same criticism.  I don’t post on the official forums very often, but with this in place I am even less likely to do so.


10 Responses to “Real Names on Blizzard forums?”

  1. July 6, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    5k replies to their plan, I’m thinking they’ll be forced to rethink it. That’s a way smaller number than the Great Murloc Protest of 2004 (they tried to take the sound out, can you imagine!)and we won that battle.

    I just hate the idea of any little sociopath having access to my name and what character I play. I only use the forums for the GM or Tech support areas and its sad to think I’m going to have to give those area’s up too.

  2. 2 Red
    July 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    The name on the account can be different than the name on the billing address. Change the name on your account to your characters name. Use your middle name. Use your dogs name. Incorporate a business and use that name.

    Take my name for example. If I look on Google, I get nothing on me, but lots on other people. I have a fairly common name though. You could always have your name changed legally if its that big of a deal.

  3. July 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Nice idea, Red, but the downside to that is when you add a RealID friend in game, they will see your “made up” name instead of your actual name. You could always type a note in the invite, I guess, but that really defeats the purpose, in my eyes, at least.
    To me, this is something completely superficial that Blizz doesn’t need to do. The old “If it ain’t broke” cliche plays loudly here. Of course, I can count on 2 hands the number of posts I’ve made there.
    My name is pretty unique, and I agree that I’d rather not mix gaming with google.
    I have an idea; lets start a FB group against this, where everyone can join and write in their feelings from their Real Life FB account! Oh, wait…

  4. 5 Stonedrake
    July 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Yeah, I’m going to go on record now and say “this is a bad idea”. Up until this point, I was fine with the RealID system, and for the most part still am.

    I post most everywhere using my real name. Hell, even my email address is my full real name. Note, however, that I say “most” everywhere. I don’t currently play WoW under that name, preferring to go instead by my online nick ‘Stonedrake’. I *CHOOSE* when and where I use my real name. Blizzard is taking that choice out of my hands going forward, and I don’t think I like that very much. It’s not about anonymity: it’s about control over how information about me gets used or disseminated.

    So yeah, bad idea.

  5. 7 argathne
    July 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I am highly against this. I personally only let a few people know my first and last name. With this happening I am going to have to stay 100% off the forums. To help people or even ask questions. Guess i will just need to direct all questions to the guild. eh?

    • 8 Karmakin
      July 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Isn’t that what you do anyway? 😉

      I don’t think Blizzard means anything wrong by this. They see in their own experience how getting to real names in a small group setting increases the community feel, and they want to expand that to the forums. What they’re not seeing, is that the reason for that isn’t “real names”. it’s just that when you get to that point, you’re already at the point in a community where there is a care for one’s reputation.

      The Internet, more or less has always ran on this pseudo-anonymity, and it works fairly well. The problem with a huge forum like the WoW forums, is that you get a ton of level 1 sock puppet alts, as well as it’s too big to have any real institutional memory, now there are actually parts of the WoW forums that do. Go have a peek at the Guild Relations Forum. (This change will end us. Yes, I’m an active reader/poster to the GRF. What can I say. Social interactions interest me.)

      The ironic part, is that the other things they’re doing, like instituting a post rating system, by and large off-set any real need to do away with anonymity completely. The best thing they could do, would be for people who post on the forums to have a forum handle, and they use that and only that on the forums. One per account. Then that account can accrue a good reputation, either socially, or through some regimented “karma”-esque system.

      The sad thing is that the whole RealID stuff is actually very cool, if they’d change it to a handle-based system.

      • July 9, 2010 at 8:13 am

        No they don’t mean anything wrong by it at all. But they don’t want a community feel, they want the community to go somewhere else because their forums are a laughingstock of the MMO community. They let the forums get out of control and now the only way to clean it up is for me to post my name for all to see?

        Its not like they can’t tie any level 1 troll to my account now.

  6. 10 Zeenaa
    July 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Well.. it looks like Blizzard listened to the player base. The CEO wrote a letter saying they wont require real names to post in the forum. Everyone is happy and the Dark cloud thats settled over the forum the last couple days has lifted. Yay!

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